‘It was 2020…’ enough said!

As an annual end-of-year run-down, the Brady Standard-Herald revisits the stories that made an impact on the local community over the past 12 months.

The following is a narrated week-to-week version of the top stories of 2020, garnering front page attention and news coverage by the Brady Standard-Herald. To no surprise, COVID-19 ate up much of the front page coverage over the past nine months.

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Jan. 1, 2020

Chamber Seeking Nominations for Annual Awards

The Brady/ McCulloch Chamber of Commerce is still accepting nominations and also table reservations for the Annual Chamber Awards Banquet. 

 Set for Jan. 30 at 6 p.m. at the Ed Davenport Civic Center, the annual event is when local citizens and businesses are recognized and honored for a number of reasons, most notably, by the Citizen of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Awards. 

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Jan. 8, 2020

Chief Perrin Updates City with Annual BFD Report

The annual report for the Brady Fire and EMS department along with updating some pertinent EMS equipment were the big discussion items at Tuesday night’s city council meeting all as part of their first official meeting of the new year that had a relatively short agenda. 

During the presentation to the council, Chief Lloyd Perrin gave the council a summary of the last year’s call information as well as the updates and opportunities and challenges the department dealt with in 2019. 

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Jan. 15, 2020

Stock Show puts $152,000 Back in 

Exhibitors’ Pockets

  The number of competitors is not what it has been, but thanks to the support of the McCulloch Community, the dollars were there at the sale last weekend as more than $152,000 in premiums were delved out to exhibitors at the annual McCulloch County Junior Livestock Show. 

With less than 100 competitors making it to the ring, some of the overall numbers of animals were down but there is a new group of showing families in the county starting out and getting involved which has event organizers excited and encouraged. 

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Jan. 22, 2020

Rains Help Farmers and Ranchers but Factor in Fatal Hwy. 71 wreck

While last week’s rain was important and much-needed for the area, it did have a negative impact in that several vehicle accidents happened during the Thursday and Friday when the roadways were wet resulting in one fatality and several others being sent to the hospital with serious injuries. 

The first accident early Thursday at the intersection of US 283 and Hwy. 87 sent three individuals to the hospital with life threatening injuries. A second accident that happened Friday on Hwy. 71 near Voca claimed the life of San Angelo resident Tyron Pullen and sent several others to the hospital. 

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Jan. 29, 2020

Rochelle ISD Studying 4-Day Week;  Could 

Begin in 2020-21 School 

 Rochelle Independent School District could be the first McCulloch County school district to move toward a four-day week school year in the upcoming 2020-’21 term, provided that the Board of Trustees approves the pilot program next month.

In researching a school calendar change initiative, Rochelle ISD Supt. Dave Lewis and Principal Matthew Fields sought input from Gordon ISD which entered into a four-day school week in the fall of 2019. 

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Feb. 5, 2020

Dilapidated Old 

Brady Hospital 

Destroyed by Fire

  The old Brady Hospital, located in the 1300 block of S. High Street, met a fiery demise late Monday evening when a fire burned the entire structure nearly to the ground. 

The building was uninhabited and did not have any utilities so the cause of the fire has yet to be determined.

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Feb. 12, 2020

Not Guilty by Reason 

of Insanity

It happened more than three years ago and on Thursday, Stephen Charles Derrick was acquitted on the charge of murdering his mother when he was found not guilty by reason of insanity. 

With the actions and decisions taken by the court, Derrick will now be remanded to a state mental hospital for an initial evaluation not to exceed 30 days after which should the hospital deem it necessary, he will be re-admitted for another 180 days before the next evaluation. From there, he will be committed to the state hospital and undergo annual mental health treatment and evaluations to determine whether or not he is a danger to friends, family or society.

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Feb. 19

Early Voting Underway for March Primary

 Early voting for the March 3 primary election began Tuesday and will run through 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28, and McCulloch County voters have a lot riding on the ballot. 

Specific to the Republican Primary, the ballot will determine the next sheriff for the county as well as who will serve the county as commissioner for Precincts 1 and 3. 

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Feb. 26, 2020

Early Voting ends Friday for Tuesday’s Primaries

As of noon Tuesday, 723 votes had already been cast in the March 3 primary election with early voting going on through 5 p.m. Friday. 

McCulloch County currently has 5,252 registered voters in the county. Early voting is conducted at the County Clerk’s office located at 101 N. High Street in Brady between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. All voters are required to provide valid photo identification. It also helps if you have your voter registration card.

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March 4, 2020

Moseleys honored by Texas Tech University

Texas Tech University’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources recognized seven distinguished alumni on Monday (Feb. 24) at the university’s McKenzie-Merket Alumni Center and among them were Brady natives mark and Christine Moseley. 

The 2020 Distinguished Alumni Awards honor graduates who have made significant contributions to society, and whose accomplishments and careers have brought distinction to the college and to the professions associated with agriculture and natural resources.

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March 11, 2020

Mason Accident Claims Mother and Son with Brady Ties

  A two-vehicle head-on collision on Friday afternoon claimed the life of a mother and son with family ties to Brady and it also sent a Mason County couple to the hospital each with serious injuries. 

The accident occurred just before 2 p.m. on Friday on Hwy. 87 South, approximately 13 miles north of Mason near Camp Air. 

Kristal Sue Trent, 32, of Clyde, and her son, Monteciello Calamaco, 13, were pronounced dead at the scene by Mason County Justice of the Peace, J. Treg Hudson. She is the daughter of Estella Mena of Snyder and all are part of the well known Fernando Nandin family of Brady. 

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March 18, 2020

Coronavirus Scare 

Impacting Entire Nation

The number of community events, schools and public gatherings closed or cancelled by the threat of the spread of the COVID-19 virus continues to grow. 

Last week, following a state-wide trend to close school campuses, all McCulloch County schools followed suit and have extended their spring breaks for at least another week with plans already being developed to deal with the problem of educating children on a long-term altered status. 

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March 25, 2020

Community Adjusting to COVID-19 Emergency

The worldwide response to the COVID-19 pandemic has affected every community across the nation and Brady is no different. 

Governor Greg Abbott has closed schools and gatherings of more than 10 people statewide and virtually every public gathering has been cancelled or postponed.

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April 1, 2020

Governor Closes All Texas Schools Until May 4

 Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Tuesday ordered the state’s schools to remain closed until May 4 in the continuing effort to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. He also extended social distancing guidelines to April 30.

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April 8, 2020

First Local Case of COVID-19 reported

In McCulloch County, measures put in place to help stop the spread of the growing COVID-19 pandemic are being taken to heart, but with the announcement Tuesday of the first positive case in the county, there is a plea by local health officials for government officials to step up restrictions imposed on the local community. 

The first case of COVID-19 was confirmed Tuesday when the local hospital was notified by a testing facility that results of a  patient, who was tested at the hospital, came back positive. 

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April 15, 2020

NWS Confirms Easter F1 Tornado

  McCulloch County residents got a startling wake-up call at 4 a.m. Sunday announcing a tornado warning in the county. 

Hector Guerrero with the National Weather Service in San Angelo, was in McCulloch County on Monday and confirmed that an F1 tornado had touched down in a stretch that began just north of Melvin and traveled northeast for approximately 10 minutes crossing multiple ranches damaging fences, deer blinds and uprooting trees. 

No injuries were reported but it has been documented that one calf was killed by the storm. 

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April 22, 2020

Onsite Instruction Ends for 2020 School Year

Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced last week that all schools in Texas would be closed for the remainder of the current school year as part of an ongoing effort to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

That announcement was followed up with another executive order that began introducing statewide plans to revive the state’s economy that has been virtually shut down by the pandemic. 

The previous executive order instructed schools to remain closed through the end of April, but last week’s announcement extended those closures and effectively ended classroom instruction for the current school year. 

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April 29, 2020

duo survives pre-dawn Hwy. 87 crash

Highway 87 South just north of the San Saba River was the scene of a massive two-vehicle collision early Monday morning that sent two people to the hospital, one with serious injuries. 

Sergio Salas Vargas, 28, of San Antonio was flown from the scene to Seaton Hospital in Austin with serious injuries sustained in the accident. Vargas was driving a 2006 BMW sedan north toward Brady around 5:45 a.m. and according to Trooper John Griffith with the Department of Public Safety, it appears that his car struck a deer which caused it to then cross the center line where it was struck by a tractor trailer traveling south toward Mason

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Local Businesses Delay Reopening due Largely to Outbreak in Mason

With the expiration of Governor Greg Abbott’s statewide COVID-19 restrictions last Friday, many McCulloch County businesses were set to ease bask into regular business operations, but a flare-up of COVID-19 cases in neighboring Mason County seems to have prompted most businesses to delay regular operations for the time being. 

Mason County had a rash of positive coronavirus cases crop up over the week that began with five testing positive and as of Tuesday morning, 26 cases were confirmed on the Department of State Health Services’ web site.

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May 13, 2020

Salons, restaurants open for limited business

With Governor Greg Abbott’s next steps in re-opening the economy last Friday, several local businesses were primed and ready, anxious to begin the revenue stream in the dried up riverbed of income. 

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May 20, 2020

County, State Slowly Opening after Pandemic

 Brady and McCulloch County continue to avoid having any more positive COVID-19 cases with 223 tests administered. As of Tuesday, 207 tests had been returned negative and 13 were still pending and only three tested positive, all of whom have recovered and been medically cleared for several weeks.

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May 27, 2020

Chapter Closes for Class of 2020

  The Brady High School Class of 2020 ended their COVID-19 shortened year Friday night with a muted graduation ceremony as only four family members per graduate were grouped and spaced six feet apart in the home bleachers in accordance with social distancing standards set by the state.

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June 3, 2020

Community Urged to Stay Vigilant against COVID-19

 As Texas communities ease restrictions imposed to slow the spread of COVID-19, local healthcare providers are asking local residents to continue taking steps to protect their health. 

“Although some restrictions are being lifted, COVID-19 remains a serious illness, which is why it is important to remain cautions,” said Tim Jones, CEO of Heart of Texas Healthcare System. “Protecting yourself and the community by taking certain precautions and focusing on your wellbeing are key.”

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June 10, 2020

City Finalizes $25M Drinking Water Project

It was a meeting during which the biggest contract in the city’s history was on the table but thanks to the challenges of technology and lack of preparation and information, the long-term effort to fund a radium reduction system nearly fell flat on its face. 

The $25.8 million project, funded in large part by the Texas Water Development Board, was on the agenda in two separate items that were both necessary in order to be approved. It was the final step necessary to begin the project that will ultimately end Brady’s drinking water woes with respect to the levels of naturally-occurring radium in the aquifer.

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June 17, 2020

Four new COVID-19 cases tied to McCulloch

 The official announcement was made Monday about four new COVID-19 cases that affect McCulloch County, but due to the state reporting methods, none of those cases will officially be counted as active McCulloch cases. 

The state reports positive cases only to the county of current residence and none of the four cases have McCulloch County listed as their current place of residence. 

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June 24, 2020

Active COVID-19 cases now number seven

 Last week the official notifications were made that four new COVID-19 cases with ties to the county had been reported and since that time the total has now risen to seven cases testing positive that are being reported on the official state agency site. 

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July 1, 2020

Official COVID-19 Count at 12, 8 active, 4 recovered

 McCulloch County, as well as the surrounding counties, has seen an uptick in the number of positive cases of COVID-19 with a total of nine active cases currently inside the county with four recovered bringing the total to 12 positives year-to-date.

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July 8, 2020

Governor mandates masks be worn in public

 Gov. Greg Abbott announced last Thursday that Texans in most counties must wear masks in public. The mandate wants people living in counties with more than 20 active coronavirus cases that first-time violators will face a warning while repeat offenders could face a $250 fine.

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July 15, 2020

Temps Soar to Record Highs

 A heat wave that is setting records across Central Texas has settled in to McCulloch County as temperatures topped out Monday as high as 112 degrees in some downtown area businesses.

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July 22, 2020

Fire Scorches 13,000 Acres North of Brady

It started midday Tuesday accidentally by a welder working on a metal gate. By the time it was contained late Sunday, the Gate5 Fire consumed more than 13,000 acres in northern McCulloch County. 

It’s believed to be the largest wildfire in the history of McCulloch County and it is also the time when area residents put its best Central Texas foot forward and showed how our community supports its own.

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July 29, 2020

McCulloch has First COVID-19 Related Death

Reports were circulated late last week that McCulloch County may have its first COVID-19 related death. 

In a release initially sent out by the McCulloch County Local Emergency Planning Committee, but later removed from social media but now the official count includes one COVID-19 related death in McCulloch County. 

According to Brady Police Chief Steve Thomas, on Saturday at approximately 4:55 p.m., the department was sent to the address of Eddie Mireles, 58, of Brady when a family member observed items they had left on the front porch had not been moved or brought into the home. 

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Aug. 5, 2020

Group effort corrals 9,000 acre Mays Fire in short order

A wildfire that started late Sunday afternoon in San Saba County crossed into McCulloch and had fire crews swarm the area but not before several thousand acres were burned. 

At last count Tuesday, the fire had consumed more than 9,000 acres in just over 24 hours, but thanks to a combined effort aided by Mother Nature and dozens of individuals with a number of agencies,  the fire was mostly contained late Monday. 

According to Grant Mays, a landowner on adjoining property, the fire was started by a pickup driven by lease hunters on the 4K Ranch. The hunters noticed the smoke coming from under the truck and when they moved it, they reportedly  attempted to stomp out the fire but it spread too quickly. 

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Aug. 12, 2020

City Submits $24M Budget, Signs EMS Deal with County

With one final joint workshop, the city and county  came to agreement last week to ensure continuing EMS coverage for citizens who live outside the Brady City Limits. 

The measure was formally accepted by the commissioners during their special meeting and at last Tuesdays council meeting that was held after the joint workshop. 

In a nutshell, the city and county have worked through a number of jointly-funded or provided services and put dollar amounts to each. When all of those services were added up, the county agreed to pay the City of Brady annual payments of $142,658 to supplement the annual operations budget of the EMS department. That total represents 12.3 percent of the EMS budget which coincides with the percentage of EMS calls that are made outside the city limits on an annual basis. 

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Aug. 19, 2020

BISD to see Many 

New Changes with School Start

 Brady ISD begins school on Monday, and to say this year is like none other would be an understatement. Students haven’t darkened the halls of the schools since March thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, and coupled with a number of campus upgrades and changes, things will have a different look on every campus across the district. 

Over the summer, and even prior to that, a number of campus upgrades were made specifically at Brady Elementary and Brady High School as part of the $3 million bond package that was passed in 2018. Brady Elementary has had its oldest wing completely remodeled including classrooms and rest rooms, and other areas have also had rest room upgrades and renovations.

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Aug. 26, 2020

Commissioners Approve $8M Budget, 5-0

 It was a 5-0 unanimous vote by the McCulloch County Commissioners Court to approve the fiscal year budget that passed Monday morning during their regular session. 

The $8 million budget, slightly less than the previous year’s budget, was approved with pay freezes for the salaries of elected officials nor did it include a cost of living increase. The tax rate equals $0.78 per $100 of valuation. 

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Sept. 2, 2020

City’s Drinking Water Project in Full Swing

Anyone who has driven out the lake road in the last two months has noticed a considerable amount of construction going on and for those who weren’t aware, it’s the formal beginning of a water project that will culminate in 2022 when the City of Brady brings its new radium reduction water plant online. 

The project which formally began in 2015, is finally underway and is the result of a long and drawn out effort by the city to revamp its drinking water system to meet Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) requirements. 

The cost of the overall project is $25.8 million of which the City received $13.3 million in grants because of its qualification as an Economically Distressed Area through the Texas Water Development Board’s (TWDB) state-funded program. Added to that, they also received $4.7 million in “forgiveness funding as well as a $10.8 million interest-free loan from TWDB. 

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Sept. 9, 2020

Sydni Rae Qualifies 

for Nationals

Had it not been for the pandemic, Bradyite Sydni Rae Jones would be competing later this year at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. Instead, she’ll be competing at another prestigious rodeo that will take it’s place later this winter. 

Sydni Rae continues to make her name in the rodeo circuit. The young rider qualified to compete on the national stage by placing first at the 31st Annual ANHA Shootout this last weekend at the Extraco Events Center in Waco.

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Sept. 16, 2020

100 Years and Still 

Going Strong

  Thursday is the official day. Jewell Jones, one of Brady’s long standing and life long citizens,officially hits the century mark, but friends and family are hosting a drive-by celebration on Saturday so everyone can participate. 

Jewell Jones started out in the dry cleaning business in the early 1940s and became one of the most well-known dry cleaners in the area. She started out pressing slacks and 54 years later, she sold her last business in 1996 and officially retired.  

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Sept. 23, 2020

City Approves FY 2021 budget, discusses lease of GRW Complex

  The biggest item approved unanimously last week by the Brady City Council was the upcoming fiscal year budget that sets rates, fees and projects for the next year that officially begins Oct. 1. 

The budget totals $24.3 million and represents a 3.8 percent increase over the current budget which totaled $23.4 million. 

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Sept. 30, 2020

BHS Reaching Out 

During Pandemic

  This year, Brady High School is offering a new course titled Family and Community Services. This course is designed to involve students in realistic and meaningful community-based activities through direct service or service-learning experiences. Ideally, students will be provided opportunities to interact with individuals, families, and the community through community service and volunteering. Along the way, students will develop organizational and leadership skills. 

The Family and Community Services class at Brady High School has selected Brady West as one of its volunteer sites; however, due to COVID-19, students have been unable to visit the site in person. As a result, students have developed and implemented projects that can be completed remotely. One of their ongoing projects is handmade birthday cards for the residents of Brady West. 

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Oct. 7, 2020

Local Clinic Adds 3 to Medical Staff

  The Brady Medical Clinic and the Heart of Texas Healthcare System have welcomed three new members to their medical staff effective last week as the husband and wife team of Dr. Doyal Huey MD and Rebecca Crowley-Huey PA along with Dr. Mark Hedlund MD are on staff and already seeing patients. 

The Huey duo arrived last week fresh from a stint in Las Vegas where they have been tag-teaming a family practice. 

“We have seven children together—one in Denton, one in Dallas, two in Austin, one in New York and one in Savanna, Ga.,” said Mrs. Huey. “Brady’s location was definitely part of the reason we chose Brady. We had other offers, but this opportunity was what fit us best.”

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Oct. 14, 2020

Early Voting Underway, 

Polls Busy from Get-Go

 Early voting began Tuesday leading up to the Nov. 2 election and beside the obvious state and national elections, there are a handful of locally contested elections that will also be on the ballot in various precincts throughout the county. 

The Brady City Council will have an election for the seat currently held by Rey Garza. He is being challenged by Larry Land for the post and every registered voter who resides within the Brady city limits will be allowed to cast a ballot for that race. 

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Oct. 21, 2020

Community Rallies 

Behind Sheriff After Son’s Tragic Murder

McCulloch County residents, and more specifically the close-knit community of Rochelle, are still processing the tragic shooting death of 19-year-old John ‘Samuel’ Dagen. 

Dagen, the son of McCulloch County Sheriff John Dagen, died early Sunday morning from multiple gunshot wounds. The incident took place around 1:30 a.m. in the 2800 block of Pecan Street in San Angelo. The incident reportedly happened in an alley where Dagen apparently unknowingly wandered into the middle of what was believed to be a gang-related incident.

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Oct. 28, 2020

Health Officials 

Urging Diligence in Virus Efforts

Despite the relatively low steady number of local COVID-19 cases in the county, local healthcare professionals are urging everyone to be diligent in helping keep the spread at bay. As of Tuesday, there were only 20 active COVID-19 cases, but with winter fast approaching, officials are not easing up in their efforts to prevent the spread of the virus.  

Practicing the three W’s:  Wear, Wash, Watch (distance) is very important in slowing the spread.

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Nov. 4, 2020

McCulloch Voter 

Turnout Will Set 

Record

Early voting ended at 5 p.m. Friday and McCulloch County had record voter turnout for this week’s general election. As of Friday, 2,371 early votes were cast in person and 288 mail-in ballots had been received. There are 5,377 registered voters in the county equaling 49.4 percent voter turnout prior to election day on Tuesday. 

Final results for the county and all of the elections were not available as of press time but will be made available on our web site and on social media as soon as they are available. 

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Nov. 11, 2020

Virus Shows up in Local Jail, 9 Test Positive

Monday’s commissioners meeting started out with a sobering report by Sheriff John Dagen who informed the court that the coronavirus has made its way into the county jail and as of Monday, six inmates and three staff members had tested positive. 

“We tested the first positive case on Saturday after one inmate began showing symptoms and sure enough, he came back positive,” said Dagen. 

The individual has been incarcerated since May leading Dagen and staff to believe that he contracted it from someone else who was asymptomatic. 

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Nov. 18, 2020

Active Virus Cases top 50 on Friday; Local Medical Staff Alarmed at Uptick 

 Texas and much of the nation is seeing a spike in the number of positive COVID-19 cases and McCulloch County is no different. After hovering around 20 active cases for several weeks, a quick spike last week jumped active case totals to a high of 50 on Friday before dropping to 45 on Monday. 

Local healthcare officials are busy planning for every possible scenario and pleading with local residents to beef up their use of the 3Ws—Wear a mask, Wash your hands often and Watch your distance (practice social distancing).

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Nov. 25, 2020

Groves and Land Sworn in to New Council Terms

 After a presentation on the local pandemic situation, the first order of business was to canvas the votes of the November election and subsequently swear in Tony Groves for another term as mayor and also Larry Land as the newest member of the council.

Last week’s regular meeting of the Brady City Council began with a formal presentation by members of the local hospital board imploring the council to take formal steps to encourage and remind residents of the importance of diligence in the ongoing efforts to curtail the spread of the coronavirus in the county. 

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Dec. 2, 2020

COVID-19 is Surging and We Need Your Help!

  Infection rates in Texas are high right now and expected to get higher.  Hospitals in our region are struggling to keep up. Hospital beds are full or filling fast. That means people who need urgent care sometimes won’t have anywhere they can go. This is a serious healthcare crisis that impacts everyone needing medical care, not just those who get Coronavirus.

It is critical to remember that you can carry the virus, and pass it on to others, without having symptoms. As we enter the holidays and our community welcomes visitors and hunters to the area, we add to the potential for increased rates of infection in our region. Being extra cautious in protecting against the Coronavirus is more important than ever.

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Dec. 9, 2020

City Council Gets FY 2020 Year-End Report

 Last week’s regular Brady City Council meeting started off with a positive update from the city’s finance officer about the year-end financial reports for the city showing a $1.3 million final total of revenues over expenditures. 

In her report to the council, Lisa McElrath Showed that the fiscal year 2020 ended with net revenue over expenditure position of $1,367,841. All funds finished the year with total expenditures under budget, and all major funds achieved projected revenue goals.

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Dec. 16, 2020

Street Artist Leaves Colorful Mark on Brady Buildings

 A street artist with a quirky haircut and colorful personality to match has been the talk of the town over the last month as Calina Mishay or more simply ‘Cal’ has used her impressive talent to transform a pair of walls into vibrant murals each of which tells a story of Brady USA. 

It’s her love for small Texas towns and the people in them coupled with her life experiences that have inspired her work. A self-taught street artist, she shelved her masters degree in counseling and job as a behavior analyst to pursue her passion—painting murals. With very little formal training, not even finishing her one and only college-level art class, Cal is riding a wave of being commissioned to share her art across the state—and beyond. Whether it has been a set of wings on a wall that provides simple photo opportunities for passers by, or a 400-foot long building in downtown Midland, where she paints, she leaves more than just her artwork behind—she leaves bits of her soul poured into her work for people to enjoy, marvel at, talk about and take pictures of in the years to come. 

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Dec. 23, 2020

McCulloch Front Line Workers Offered 

Vaccine

 The first COVID-19 vaccines to be available in McCulloch County were administered to 29 local healthcare workers on Monday. 

A two-person team from Shannon Medical Center in San Angelo brought and administered the vaccines to healthcare providers, hospital staff, EMS workers and others considered to be Tier I individuals with respect to possible exposure. The vaccines were voluntarily taken and not required by any employer or medical agency. 

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Dec. 30, 2020

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